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Tools of the Trade: December 2021

By Michael Castelluccio
December 1, 2021

1. Google Pixel 6

The improvements in the Pixel 6, Google’s flagship phone, include high-megapixel cameras and a striking new styling. There are two rear cameras—a 50MP main camera and a 12MP ultrawide camera with a 114˚ wide-angle view and an f/2.2 aperture—along with excellent photo-editing features. The front camera is 8MP with an 84-degree field of view. The Pixel Pro model also has a telephoto with a 7x digital zoom. The new design features a two-tone color back and a horizontal camera block that’s across the entire back top. The back is Gorilla Glass 6 with a matte finished metal edge around the back and sides. It’s available in three colors—stormy black, sorta seafoam, and kinda coral. The Pixel 6 is heavier than the iPhone 13, weighing in at 7.3 oz. (207g). The screen is a 6.4″ OLED (2,340 5 1,080 pixels) with a refresh rate of 90Hz. The CPU is a Google Tensor with Titan M2 security coprocessor running on Android 12. Memory is 8GB, and storage is from 128GB to 256GB. The base price starts at $599 for the 128GB model and $699 for the 256GB from Google. store.google.com

 

2. MacBook Pro

In a second fall preview of new Apple products this year, the MacBook Pro 14 debuted in the same week as the Google Pixel 6. It’s Apple’s first major redesign for the laptop in five years, and the bottom line with the new model is all about power. The MacBook Pro offers two new powerful chips and a 14.2″ 120Hz ProMotion Mini LED display featuring slimmer bezels. The basic M1 Pro chip has an 8-core CPU with a 14-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine. It’s configurable to a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU. The M1 Max chip is configurable up to a 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU. The Liquid Retina screen has a native resolution of 3,024 5 1,964 at 254 pixels per inch. The basic memory on the Pro 14 is 16GB, and it can be configured up to 32GB or 64GB. Internal storage is from 512GB to 1TB. It also contains more ports, including three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), one HDMI, and a SDXC card reader. www.apple.com

 

3. Fujifilm Instax Printer

The Instax Link Wide Printer can print 3.4″ 5 4.25″ photos from your smartphone using Bluetooth to connect to your phone. The Instax Link app has dozens of filters, along with frame templates, resizing, and contrast correction. The Instax app can also create collages and insert stickers and text for titles or comments. You can even record a sound and capture it in a QR code, and when you scan the photo’s QR code, the sound will play. The codes can also include links to websites. The printer runs on batteries and can print about 100 images on a charge. It’s available in ash white and mocha gray. The printer has a stand for shelf storage. It’s small enough to take with you, and it has a carrying strap for that. www.instaxus.com

 

4. Kobo Sage

The Sage is the latest e-reader from Rakuten. It has five new advantages that include increased power and storage, a note-taking functionality, Bluetooth for audiobooks support on external speakers and headphones, and the ComfortLight Pro color temperature adjustment for eliminating blue light. You can make handwritten notes on PDFs and e-books, and there’s an advanced notebook function for other note-taking that will even convert your handwriting to text. The 8″ touchscreen displays text in 300 ppi, and it has a dark mode. A single battery charge can last for weeks, and the 32GB storage holds hundreds of books and PDFs. www.kobo.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the technology editor for Strategic Finance for 26 years. His SF TechNotes blog is in its 23rd year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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